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VDOT Announces New Leadership to Head Transportation Program in Hampton Roads

VDOT Announces New Leadership to Head Transportation Program in Hampton Roads



RICHMOND — Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Greg Whirley announced today four key leadership positions within the agency. Three of the four positions are new district administrators: Helen L. Cuervo, P.E. will lead the Northern Virginia District; James S. Utterback, PMP will head the Hampton Roads District, and; Christopher L. Winstead, P.E. will take over the Lynchburg District. Whirley also named Barton A. Thrasher, P.E. as the new state location and design engineer, based out of VDOT’s Central Office in Richmond.


“I am proud to select four highly qualified, results-driven, excellence-focused transportation professionals with proven track records to lead critical positions within VDOT,” said Whirley. “Combined, this team has more than 90 years of experience in transportation development and execution, from working in the field to leading large and complex projects and programs.”


James S. Utterback, PMP named as Hampton Roads District Administrator

Utterback will oversee the construction and maintenance  program of  VDOT managed roadways in the Hampton Roads District, which encompasses nine counties and 11 cities, from Greensville in the west to James City in the north to Accomack in the northeast and Virginia Beach in the southeast. Utterback has 28 years of transportation engineering and leadership experience in VDOT, the private sector and the military. He has been the district administrator for VDOT’s Culpeper District since July 2008. Utterback joined VDOT in 1999 as an engineer, working in its Management Services, Location and Design, and Innovative Project Delivery divisions. Utterback led VDOT’s Charlottesville Residency from January 2005 to mid-2006. He then became project management officer in VDOT’s Scheduling and Contracts Division. In that role, he oversaw statewide implementation of VDOT’s project management program, including the development of policies, procedures and processes.

Helen L. Cuervo, P.E. named as Northern Virginia District Administrator

Cuervo will lead the transportation program of state maintained roads in the Northern Virginia District, which includes Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties. The district also supports highways in nine cities and towns in the region. Cuervo brings 30 years of transportation experience to the job, including 26  years with VDOT. She was the district construction engineer, responsible for the delivery of the $700 million Northern Virginia District construction program. Cuervo joined VDOT in 1987 as contract administrator and later served as land use director assistant district engineer.

Christopher L. Winstead, P.E. named as Lynchburg District Administrator

Winstead will be responsible for leading the transportation program in the Lynchburg District, a ten-county region in south central Virginia. Winstead has 17 years of transportation, engineering and extensive leadership experience both with VDOT and Henrico County. He was the director of the county’s department of general services following his role as assistant director for the public works department, where he led a diverse team of leaders to provide citizen services. Winstead previously worked for VDOT for 13 years where he was a resident engineer and the district construction engineer for the Richmond District. While at VDOT, Winstead directed engineers to deliver numerous projects on time and on budget.


Barton A. Thrasher, P.E. named as the State Location and Design Engineer

Thrasher will be responsible for statewide project management and preconstruction activities of VDOT’s construction program. Thrasher has 18 years of experience in the transportation engineering field. He joined VDOT in 1997 and most recently served as the assistant state location and design engineer. Thrasher was responsible for the construction oversight, final plan design and oversight of the Six Year Improvement Program for six VDOT districts. His design and construction experience ranges from land development and secondary road systems to complex arterial and interstate interchanges.  


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